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Blacksmithing For Beginners – 5 Tips To Get Started

A few weeks ago some of the American Rotary team headed to Indiana to visit Dusty Hicks at his machine shop where we got some insights on machining. While we were there we also met with Richard Hicks in his blacksmith shop where he was also kind enough to take a few moments to share with us his top five tips for those who are starting out in the trade of blacksmithing and are glad to share them with you here.

Recap – Blacksmithing For Beginners:

1. Get the basic tools. These include a forge, anvil, vice, tongs, and coal. With just these tools you can learn a lot of the basics.

2. Seek advice from others. Ask questions of other blacksmiths. Find someone that has already bought too many tools and learn the importance of keeping things simple.

3. Don’t get discouraged. You will make mistakes. Like any other trade, it takes practice and repetition.

4. Get involved. Find a blacksmithing group or organization that holds meetups or conferences with teachers and demonstrators. By being around others you will be encouraged and learn from each other.

5. Be safe! There are toxic fumes that come off of galvanized steel. Learn about the materials, steel and coatings you are working with.

14 thoughts on “Blacksmithing For Beginners – 5 Tips To Get Started

  • Ray Giddings

    July 13, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Good advice!

    • admin

      July 13, 2016 at 1:51 am

      Thanks Ray! Glad you found it helpful.

  • Ted

    December 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Sure looks fun and interesting. Love to have a forge. I have the rest of the tools. Make one I guess

  • Cameron

    January 4, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Wow that’s great advice. All I have left to get is an anvil. If I can’t find an inexpensive one I am gonna try to make one out of rail road steel

    • James

      February 23, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      I Made mine from railroad track and welded a hardened plate to the top but if you want harbor freight sells inexpensive ones that work good for someone just stating out and learning

    • Ken

      March 20, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      I work in a steelmill and i had the opportunity to make a few. I havent tried any real blacksmithing but it works great for anything i need

  • Dan

    January 24, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Good stuff, would love to see more like it.

  • S. Leo Milley

    February 5, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Starting to gather tools , including an anvil. Anticipate making a pair of tongs first.

    • Don

      May 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Tongs, are I would say are a pretty necessary first couple of builds. I have maybe half dozen tongs I have built, some I even rebuilt for different applications .

  • James

    March 3, 2017 at 4:47 am

    That’s helpful advice. Now to find an anvil that won’t break the bank lol.

  • William E. Turner, III

    April 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    The only two things a Blacksmith will go to Hell for, are hammering on cold steel, and not charging enough for his work!

    • Don

      May 21, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      How true, however rolling an edge on armor, uses cold steel mostly. It takes time, and will it build forearm muscles like you won’t believe,lol.
      Rolling an edge strengthens your piece, adds visual interest, and prevents you from cutting yourself on a raw edge

  • Michael Sullivan

    March 13, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you. Your discussion on tongs was very helpful to this rookie.

  • Sam B

    March 5, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Great advice for sure, but, uh… I have always felt a hammer was a very basic tool lol

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